"Promise me that someday you will have one of your stories published."
That was one of the last conversations that I had with my father before he died. I had just finished reading him one of my latest scribblings; his wrinkled hand softly patting mine, staring at me with eyes that glistened with pride. I laughed at his request and asked the question "Who would want to read my stories, Dad?" His simple reply back was "People."
Two years after he passed away, I heard the whisper of this conversation tiptoe back into my mind. I was still grieving, lost in a sea of despair over his death, but those quiet words "Promise me...promise me..." slowly broke through the darkness. I needed to fulfill this last request, so I began to pursue publication.
Writing a story is easy, getting published is a whole other can of frustrated worms. First, unless you have a treasure trove of money to just throw around you will be hearing a lot of slamming doors. It is amazing to me how many good stories there are out there, but you and I will never read them because the author didn't have the cash to back it. The reality is authors pay for their book to be published. Second, most huge publishing houses require that authors have a publishing agent before they even open the pages of the writers' manuscript. Most agents go for 20 grand or more. Third, I am not famous, nor do I have a famous family. The truth is that fame and who you know is everything; little minnows like me rarely get noticed in the sea of literature.
I had NONE of these things. All I had was a story, a promise unfulfilled, and the Internet. I searched until I found a few publishing houses that considered "new" authors who had little money and no agent. I picked one, took a deep breath, submitted my story, and mumbled under my breath "well Dad I tried".
"We like your story and want to publish."
I read those words in disbelief, and even now, holding the book in my hand, I still wonder at it all. I am a published author...a promise fulfilled.
My book has not made me famous, nor has it brought me untold wealth, but it has served as a connection to my past, present, and future. I find that my book allows me to see a bigger picture, I see the "people" that my Dad spoke of that day. People need stories that remind them of gentle conversations, loving memories, and home. I need to remember...so I write another story which may never be read by others, but I write it because someday I know that my son will need to remember. Writing is just inked memories for the library of the heart.